Israel bars Rep. Ilhan Omar from entering country

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib has also been banned.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minnesota's 5th District Rep. Ilhan Omar will not be permitted entry to Israel on a planned visit to the West Bank.

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, another female Muslim member of Congress, has also been barred from entering the country. The pair planned a private trip to the West Bank, where Tlaib has family, organized by a Palestinian-led nonprofit.

The decision was made at the direction of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which came shortly after he was urged to take the step by President Donald Trump. A month ago, Netanyahu had said both could visit.

"It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit," Trump tweeted, before suggesting that "Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office."

Rep. Omar issued a statement in response to the decision, saying "Trump's Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected members of Congress."  

During her time in Congress, Rep. Omar has been critical of Netanyahu's right-wing Israeli regime, leading to accusations of antisemitism by Republicans.

But while she has gotten into hot water over the use of some antisemitic tropes in criticizing the Netanyahu regime and Republican support for it, she has argued that it's possible to support the Jewish faith while being critical of the political situation in Israel.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Omar and Tlaib are both supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which "works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law."

As Vox reports, Omar and Tlaib voted in favor of legislation that would make it U.S. policy to boycott Israel, albeit they were among only 17 House members in favor, with 398 against.

Vox notes that as part of their trip, the two congresswomen had planned to visit Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, and Jerusalem, and join members of the Palestinian Authority at Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Rep. Omar's fellow Minnesota member of Congress, 3rd District Rep. Dean Phillips, slammed Israel's decision, saying: "I am appalled by Israel's decision to bar entry to sitting members of the United States Congress.

"This action sets a damaging precedent for a free and democratic nation and our most important ally in the region. It will harm Israel’s standing among Americans and the entire free world, and sacrifices an opportunity to build bridges of understanding. I urge Israel’s leaders to reverse this dangerous decision immediately."

Next Up

Related